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University sets out plans to support transgender students

Thursday 12 April 2018

THE UNIVERSITY of Salford is working towards becoming a trans and non-binary friendly and inclusive institution.

The move comes after support staff noticed a significant increase over the last few years in the numbers of students who had sought help with gender transition or were exploring their own gender identities.

The University has strengthened links with charities that work with trans people, such as the Manchester based LGBT Foundation, 42nd Street and Proud Trust, and are making sure all frontline student services receive training in trans awareness.

This includes ensuring the University’s own counselling and wellbeing services are able to refer students who are questioning their own sexuality or gender to outside agencies who are able to provide help. 

Full understanding of trans issues

It also includes making sure staff at the on-site medical centre have a full understanding of trans issues, and volunteers working on the Nightline phone service – which provides student to student support – are provided with training. 

Other moves include pledging to provide gender neutral toilets in all University buildings – as a choice alongside the existing male and female toilets – by the end of November 2018.

The University is now launching the second stage of gender-neutral toilet provision in the Old Fire Station, Crescent House, Newton, Allerton and Mary Seacole buildings. 

Optional non-gender titles

As well as this, the University is providing optional non-gender specific titles, sitting alongside ‘Mr’ and ‘Miss’, such as ‘Mx’ for student registration in September 2018, and also aims to ask all students what pronouns they prefer to use during online registration.

Meanwhile, the University has become a third party reporting centre for anyone who wants to report hate crimes they may have experienced.

The University also co-curated the national exhibition Twilight People at the MediaCityUK campus to raise visibility around gender identity in faith, while students designed and delivered a workshop at the National Trans Festival Sparkle, focussed on being trans at University. The University will also bring the Rainbow Pilgrims exhibition, exploring the story of LGBT migrants, to the campus on May 16. 

We hope other universities across the country will follow us in developing comprehensive support for a group of students who are often ignored.

History of welcoming trans students

Arron Pile, University of Salford student and graduate diversity officer said: “The University of Salford has a proud history of welcoming trans students and we’re keen to build on this.

“We’ve been working with national and local organisations, as well as working closely with our own trans students to develop an action plan outlining what we can do better. This includes ensuring all frontline student services receive training in trans awareness, strengthening our links with local charities, and providing support groups for those who may be questioning their own gender identity.

“We contributed to the recent Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) national guidelines about good practice in supporting trans students, and we hope other universities across the country will follow us in developing comprehensive support for a group of students who are often ignored.”